Festival aims to shine a light on dale music
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A MONTH-long community festival aims to celebrate music making in the dale and offer plenty of opportunities for people to get-together.
The festival, which kicks off with a launch concert on Monday, June 13, has been organised by St Mary’s Parish Church, Barnard Castle.
It will feature all different styles of music, from folk and brass to organ recitals, performances by choirs, workshops and open rehearsals and even the premiere of a new musical celebrating the coronation of Richard III.
Revd Canon Alec Harding said the festival offered the chance to rebuild community connections.
“We have not had chance to enjoy ourselves for so long,” he said.
St Mary’s director of music Annette Butters, said the festival aimed to offer something for everyone, from the most accomplished musician to those picking up an instrument for the first time.
“It is a showcase for established groups but also the opportunity for people to take part in something for the first time,” she said.
“It’s also the chance to make new friends and perform with other people. We aim to make everything as accessible as possible.”
The launch concert, at the church, will feature a number of groups and soloists from across the dale including Sophia Strings, brass, classical guitar and vocalists.
“It’s a bit of everything,” said Ms Butters.
Other highlights will include a Summer Sizzler concert featuring the church’s community orchestra at The Witham on Saturday, June 25.
The concert will also feature some special guests, the Green Lane school choir and pre-show entertainment in The Witham cafe by youth folk group Cream Tees.
The band About the Humans, featuring Andy Yeadon and Moray Nellis, will perform at St Mary's on Friday July 1, while on Wednesday, July 6, the church will host the first performance of Lord of the North, co-written by Ms Butters and Kim Harding, chairwoman of the Northern Dales Richard III group.
Concluding the series of concerts is a performance by No Added Sugar and the St Mary's Community Choir on Friday, July 8, also at St Mary’s.
Workshops include a chance to get hands-on with the church’s organ on Wednesday, June 29, 2pm to 3pm.
Music at the Heart of Teesdale project co-ordinator Rupert Philbrick will host a folk music taster session Saturday, July 2, 11.30am to 2.15pm.
The following day, there is a song composition workshop led by Andy Yeadon, from 9am to 5pm. On Saturday, July 9, an open rehearsal offering the chance for total beginners to pick up an instrument will take place from 10am to 1pm.
Supported by Durham Music Service, advice and guidance will be available.
A leaflet outlining these and all other community music festival events has been produced and full details are also available online at www. stmarysbarnardcastle.org.uk.
Most events offer free admission, but donations will be welcome and money raised will be spent on music making at the church.